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PGF Nationals Preview: 18U Premier Primer (7/16/18)

Baylor-bound Kassidy Krupit of the East Cobb Bullets. Photo/TC Sports.


PGF NATIONALS PREVIEW: 18U PREMIER PRIMER


The PGF Nationals has evolved into the premier event on the club circuit for softball and the 18U Premier Division is the crown jewel of the event, which will be held from July 21-27 in Orange County, CA.

There are many familiar faces from So Cal that are expected to be top contenders once again, Bill Conroy’s Beverly Bandits are back to defend their national championship and Greg Schnute’s East Cobb Bullets are back at PGF Nationals after a few years competing at the USA Softball/Junior Olympic Cup.

If this summer’s results are any indication, the 2018 PGF 18U Premier national title appears to be up for grabs with no clear cut favorite.

Obviously, the Beverly Bandits are one of the top contenders. The Bandits use their speed and aggressive brand of softball to apply constant pressure on opposing defenses, which will make them hard to beat.

Northwestern-recruit Sydney Supple of Beverly Bandits-Conroy. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

“For us to repeat a national title, it’ll take putting all the right pieces together every game and a little bit of luck that the ball bounces our way,” said Bandits pitcher Sydney Supple, who has committed to Northwestern. “Our speed will always be there. We work to put pressure on the defense every inning, finding ways to score and then driving them in with our bigger sticks. As a pitching staff, (Syracuse-bound) Peyton (Schnackenberg) and I will work really hard this week for preparation to keep the hitters off balance and off plane. It’ll take our defense to make all the plays they’re capable of making. Most importantly it will take heart, effort and endurance from every one of our girls on our team. If we do all the little things right, we are capable of a repeat.”

Marty Tyson’s Corona Angels will be a factor once again with UCLA-bound right-hander Megan Faraimo, arguably the most dominant pitcher in the nation, in the circle. Faraimo, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, led the Angels to the finals last season.

“Heading into Nationals, we’ve dedicated this week to really focus up on the details and the small things we’ll need in order to get to another PGF National Championship,” said Faraimo, who led the Corona Angels to a PGF 14U Premier title in 2014. “We are in our final week of preparation, so our thoughts are on doing whatever we need to do in order to win. I think more than anything it’s going to take heart, fight and grit to get through the tournament and to hopefully bring home the trophy.”

Kevin Shelton’s Texas Glory heads into the PGF Nationals with a lot of momentum after beating Mike Stith’s OC Batbusters to win the WFC championship in Kansas City.

Greg Schnute’s East Cobb Bullets looked dominant on their way to winning the TC/USA Nationals in Georgia and should play a huge role in determining the PGF national champion with their huge bats.

“I think if we continue to play at a high level of intensity, we will make it to the top,” said Bullets infielder Kassidy Krupit, who is headed to Baylor. “We just need to play hard and capitalize in any situation, especially at a competitive tournament like PGF.

“My team never gives up. We’ve been down 6-0 (in) the first inning and came back to win it 10-6 in a game this past week. Regardless of the score, we keep the intensity up and trust each other. But most importantly, we have fun.”

Despite the loss to Texas Glory, the Batbusters have had great results all summer, including winning the prestigious Boulder IDT 18U title earlier this month in Colorado.

“Next week will be full of solid competition and I’m proud to wear Batbusters across my chest,” said Batbusters catcher Kinzie Hansen, who has committed to Oklahoma. “We are very excited.”

Bruce Richardson’s So Cal Athletics won the first four PGF national titles and have never finished below fifth place. The So Cal A’s have another competitive squad this year.

Stanford-commit Sydney Steele of So Cal Athletics-Richardson. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

“Our goal as a team throughout the entire year is to get better every time we step onto the field, so by the time PGF comes we are ready,” Stanford-committed middle infielder Sydney Steele said. “We face the toughest teams week in and week out to get the best out of our games. Even though I wasn’t with the team when they one a national title … it is expected. We have what is called the ‘championship gene’ that is passed down from year to year. And the key for never getting lower than 5th place isn’t by chance, it’s because each and everyone on the field works as hard as they can.”

Dean Fausett’s So Cal Choppers are another top contender from So Cal. Texas-bound right-hander Shea O’Leary has been out all summer with an ankle injury, but she will be back for PGF to help the Choppers make a run.

“I am extremely excited for Nationals and all of the competition that awaits,” O’Leary said. “Health-wise I am doing really good, the ankle hasn’t given me any problems. In order for the Choppers to make a run for the title we need to come together as a complete team. We need to have defense, offense and pitching on at the same time.”

Patrick Lewis’ Georgia Impact has had some solid showings all summer and should end up in the mix at PGF.

“This summer has been one for the books no doubt,” said Impact SS/OF Skylar Wallace, who is headed to Alabama. “My team as a whole has grown as one and matured all together allowing us to play the game intelligent. We have all learned to play the game with intensity, aggressiveness, heart and determination throughout this season. We have connected with each other on and off the field tremendously that has allowed us to know what one another is thinking in certain situations. All of this gives us a great opportunity to compete and finish well at PGF this year.”

Oklahoma-bound Brooke Vestal got hot and helped Tony Rico’s Firecrackers capture the PGF 18U Premier national title in 2016. The 2018 right-hander is capable of doing the same for the Firecrackers at this year’s PGF.

“We could not be more excited to go out and compete against the best teams in the nation this upcoming week,” Vestal said. “This is without a doubt the best tournament of the year and we’re excited for the opportunity to play for a national championship. However, we are taking it one inning at a time. Our team is in a great place with strong chemistry. We are continuing to prepare for PGF and hope we can do the little things it takes to be playing on Friday. Every team is different and special in their own way. 2016 was an amazing year, but we are not the 2016 team. We are hoping to write our own story this year.”

The 10U Premier, 12U Premier, 12U Platinum and 18U Platinum championships will also be contested on the first week of the PGF Nationals.


TOP CONTENDERS


Oklahoma-commit Zaida Puni of OC Batbusters-Stith. Photo/Craig Takata.

Beverly Bandits-Conroy: Northwestern-bound Skyler Shellmyer, a PGF High School All-American, Loyola-bound 2B/OF Madison Ebeling, James Madison-bound 3B/C Hallie Hall and Supple are some of the key players for the Bandits.

East Cobb Bullets-Schnute: Krupit, a PGF High School All-American, and Alabama-committed P Lexi Kilfoyl lead the Bullets.

Corona Angels-Tyson: The Angels have Faraimo in the circle and a wealth of speedy players, including Cal-bound OF Amani Bradley.

Texas Glory-Shelton: LSU-committed C/IF Hayden Brown, Louisiana Tech-bound C/1B/3B Lindsay Edwards and Oklahoma-committed P/OF Rylie Boone lead a loaded lineup for Texas Glory.

OC Batbusters-Stith: UCLA-committed IF Maya Brady, Hansen and Oklahoma-committed 3B Zaida Puni are some of the big bats in the Batbusters’ lineup.

So Cal Athletics-Richardson: UCLA-bound OF/3B Kelli Godin is a PGF High School All-American, LSU-commit Ciara Briggs isone of the top outfielders in the Class of 2019 and Arizona State-committed IF Jazmine Hill has beenon fire this summer.

Alabama-bound Skylar Wallace of Georgia Impact-Lewis gets ready to mash one. Photo/ExtraInningSoftball.com.

Georgia Impact-Lewis: Wallace, a PGF High School All-American, is one of the top hitters in the nation.

Firecrackers-Rico/Weil: Vestal, a PGF High School All-American, is battle-tested in the circle and UCLA-bound Anna Vines and Tennessee-commit Nyomi Jones provide incredible speed on offense.

Cal Cruisers-Sievers: The Cruisers are led by a quartet of Oregon-bound players with SS Jasmine Sievers, 3B Rachel Cid, UT Alyssa Pinto and OF Deijah Pangilian. Sievers and Cid were selected PGF High School All-Americans.

Athletics-Mercado/TO: This team features four players, including So Cal Sidelines’ San Diego and So Cal Player of the Year Payton Tidd, from San Marcos High, which won the CIF-SDS Open Division title and the FloSoftball national championship.

Jersey Intensity-KOD: Missouri-commit Joley Mitchell hasmade a name for herself this summer with her big stick, speed and defensive skills at 3B.

DeMarini Aces: Oregon-committed P/OF Makenna Kliethermes and Oklahoma-committed MIF Mackenzie Donihoo are two of teh top players for the Aces, who are battle-tested after a strong summer season.

So Cal Choppers-Fausett: The Choppers are led by O’Leary and Ally Shipman, a PGF All-American who is headed to Tennessee.

Florida-bund Brittany Allen of Explosion-Denio/Jackson. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Explosion-Denio/Jackson: Explosion’s lineup feaatures PGF High School All-Americans Brittany Allen, a Florida signee, and Larissa Cesena, who is headed to Arkansas.

Firecrackers-Brashear: BYU-commit Megan Delgadillo and San Diego State-bound Paige Barth are two of the top hitters for the Firecrackers.

All American Sports Academy (AASA)-Merrida: San Diego State-committed P/1B Karina Faasisila and Stanford-bound P Molly Millar are two of AASA’s key players.

So Cal Breakers-Beddow: The Breakers have Northwestern-bound Lauren Dvorak on the hill.

Birmingham Thunderbolts Premier: Mississippi State-bound P Kayla Boseman is one of the Bolts top players.

South Dakota Renegades: South Dakota State-bound P/3B/SS Grace Glanzer has been the heart and soul of the Renegades, who reached the PGF 16U Premier finals in 2016.

Northwest Bullets Gold-Campos: The Bullets are led by Washington-bound southpaw McKenzie Schulz.


2018 PGF NATIONALS


CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE


18U Platinum Championship at Deanna Manning Stadium, Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m. (Streamed live on FloSoftball.com)

12U Platinum Championship at Harvard Park, Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m. (Streamed live on FloSoftball.com)

10U Premier Championship at Deanna Manning Stadium, Friday, July 27, 8:30 a.m. (Streamed live on FloSoftball.com)

12U Premier Championship at Deanna Manning Stadium, Friday, July 27, 11 a.m. (Streamed live on FloSoftball.com and tape delayed on Fox Sports West Prime Ticket and Comcast)

18U Premier Championship at Deanna Manning Stadium, Friday, July 27, 4:30 p.m. (Live on ESPNU)

PGF High School All-American Game at Deanna Manning Stadium, Friday, July 27, 7:30 p.m. (Live on ESPNU)


Beverly Bandits-Conroy celebrates its 2-0 victory over Corona Angels-Tyson in the PGF 18U Premier national title game on Friday, July 28, 2017. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

PGF NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP LINEAGE


ALL-TIME CHAMPIONS


2017


PGF HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICAN GAME

East def. West, 7-4

18U PREMIER

Beverly Bandits-Conroy def. Corona Angels-Tyson, 2-0

18U PLATINUM

Salinas Storm-Heen def. Batbusters-Gomes/Clark, 5-4

16U PREMIER

Beverly Bandits-Ketelhut def. Athletics-Mercado/Smith, 10-1

16U PLATINUM

Firecrackers UT-Rollin def. Birmingham Thunderbolts 01, 7-4

14U PREMIER

Texas Dirt Divas def. OC Batbusters-Campbell 03, 4-3

14U PLATINUM

Firecrackers-Brashear/Oakes def. Birmingham Thunderbolts 2003, 8-1

12U PREMIER

Diamond Sports Hotshots Gold def. Georgia Impact-Langston, 5-1

10U PREMIER

Fury 2024 def. Birmingham Thunderbolts 06, 12-5


2016


PGF HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICAN GAME

West def. East, 2-0

18U PREMIER

Firecrackers-Rico def. California Cruisers-Sievers, 2-0

18U PLATINUM

Iowa Premier def. USA Athletics Gold, 2-0

16U PREMIER

Beverly Bandits-Conroy def. South Dakota Renegades, 3-2

16U PLATINUM

Firecrackers-Brashear def. Midwest Speed, 3-2

14U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Mercado/Smith def. Corona Angels-Tyson, 6-0

14U PLATINUM

Grapettes-Guevara def. Birmingham Thunderbolts-Dorsett, 2-0

12U PREMIER

Texas Sudden Impact def. Texas Impact Gold-Esparza, 6-1

10U PREMIER

Tennessee Mojo 2023 def. Intensity South TX, 11-3


2015


18U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-Stith/Haning def. So Cal Athletics-Richardson, 7-0

18U PLATINUM

Firecrackers-Pasco def. Iowa Premier Gold, 3-2

16U PREMIER

Tampa Mustangs-TJ def. Beverly Bandits/Team DeMarini, 1-0

16U PLATINUM

Sparks Premier def. KC Peppers-Clinton, 5-3

14U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-Campbell def. Georgia Impact-Lewis, 7-4

14U PLATINUM

Cal Nuggets Gold def. Nor Cal Dirt Dogs-Ybarra, 6-4

12U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-Mascarenas def. So Cal Choppers 02-Gibson, 2-1

10U PREMIER

Diamond Sports Hotshots Gold def. Texas Chaos, 8-5


2014


18U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-Stith/Haning def. Corona Angels-Tyson, 3-0

18U PLATINUM

OC Batbusters-Briggs def. Illinois Stars, 5-0

16U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Myers/McNee def. Beverly Bandits-Tyrrell, 2-1

16U PLATINUM

California Cruisers-Evans def. OC Batbusters-Alvarez, 11-3

14U PREMIER

Corona Angels-Tyson def. So Cal Athletics-Quarles, 7-1

14U PLATINUM

Courage-Weaver def. Cal Cruisers-Sievers, 9-1

12U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Mercado def. DirecTV Genies, 4-3


2013


18U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Richardson def. Team Mizuno-Stith, 3-2

18U PLATINUM

Strike Force-Guerra def. Central California Dirt Dogs, 10-0

16U PREMIER

Beverly Bandits-Tyrrell def. OC Batbusters-Myers, 2-0

14U PREMIER

Team Mizuno-Campbell def. OC Batbusters-McNee, 5-4

12U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Tidd/Ornelas def. AZ Suncats, 9-0


2012


18U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Richardson def. Worth Firecrackers, 5-4

16U PREMIER

Team Mizuno-Stith def. Corona Angels-Knighten, 5-1

14U PREMIER

Atlanta Vipers def. So Cal Athletics-Marinacci, 3-2

12U PREMIER

Firecrackers-Quarles def. Firecrackers-Roman, 8-2


2011


18U PREMIER

So Cal Athletics-Richardson def. Worth Firecrackers, 8-7

16U PREMIER

Firecrackers-Blanco def. Texas Glory-Naudin, 5-0

14U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-McNee def. Corona Angels-Knighten, 3-0


2010


18U PREMIER

So Ca Athletics-Richardson def. Texas Impact Gold, 4-2

16U PREMIER

OC Batbusters-Myers def. Corona Angels-Howard, 6-4

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